ANKARA, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey will not hand over Iraq 's fugitive Sunni vice president to Iraqi authorities.
Erdogan made the remarks at Ankara Esenboga Airport before his departure for a foreign trip, saying that Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi can stay in Turkey as long as he likes.
Hashimi said here at a press conference on Monday that the death penalty ruling of the Iraqi court is null and void in his own view, stressing that the court decision is politically motivated.
Hashimi said he is ready to stand trial in a fair court, but not in Iraqi courts which he claimed are under the influence of his rival, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
On Sunday, Baghdad's criminal court convicted Hashimi and his son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan of organizing the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help the vice president's allies in terror cases. In a third case, the two defendants were acquitted of the killing of a security officer due to the lack of evidence.
Turkey's support for Hashimi is expected to further strain ties between the two neighbors, which are already at odds over oil deals.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Maliki have publicly traded accusations several times this year. Erdogan accused Maliki of fanning sectarian divisions in Iraq and Maliki accused Turkey of meddling in Iraq's domestic affairs.